The uncompromising brutalist architecture that is the Barbican Estate is a fashion Londoners either find abhorrent or dearly cherish. Those towering blocks, over hanging long walkways, concrete and stone punctured in places by large village like ponds. Everything about it, would make a Le Corbusier admirer nod in appreciation.
The Barbican is a place with great impact, its marvellous complexity makes it one of a kind. The question is, is the Barbican London’s most impressive Estate? The Barbican is more than 1 or 2 buildings, it is a collage of building structures, covering some 40 acres.
Functional and with Purpose: Barbican
The architects looked to create a multi purpose complex, creating clear qualification between private, community and open spaces. The need to permit people on foot as a priority over car usage, which strikes the visitor as soon as you enter the estate the sight of a car soon disappears. It is done in such a way that a road or a car simply has no place to fit in the sprawling construction of the Estate.
The Opposition to conventional building construction
You only need to wonder to any North London housing estate, with buildings from the post war years to encounter what the Barbican was up against, in terms of conventional thinking. Single tall story buildings encircled by roads. If the residents were fortunate, they may have had a small area of land allocated with a low-line of lockup garages nearby.
The premise for the Barbican plan was of a vision for a city platform, a car-free domain raised up over the city’s active moving road traffic. An area of seclusion and safety that permits guests and inhabitants to explore the location on foot. Brick pathways with distinctive purpose of direction. Gardens and lakes offering the explorer wonderful viewpoints for inhabitants.
The sheer number of levels, slopes, stairs, handrails and overhangs makes the Barbican feel like a ship with a bush hammered hull, about to take off.
Barbican Estate voted London’s Number 1 Estate
Our vote is in, comment below if you think there is a more worthy contender of the title, London’s best estate